Though site managers at day cares have a range of responsibilities, nothing is more important than keeping children safe and developing programming that supplements what they learn in school or at home. Yours is a management position, so expect to work closely with your staff, evaluate their performance and make sure they meet any state requirements for working with children.
As the site manager at a day care, you are primarily responsible for supervising and training your staff and developing age-appropriate programs and standards for your enrolled students. You may need to help resolve problems between children or between a child and one of your staff members. You may also need to file reports and handle aspects of your site’s payroll and budget. If you work at a day care that is part of a national chain or franchise, you may also need to make sure your site meets your parent organization’s standards and regulations.
Depending on where you work, you may be responsible for making sure your site is maintained and cleaned according to state regulations. You may also oversee what your enrolled students eat and drink during the day, making sure to accommodate for a child’s allergy or special dietary needs.
Education and Experience
You’ll need at least a high school diploma to become a day care site manager, though some employers may require you to have at least an associate degree in early childhood education. How much experience you need varies by employer. To work as a day care site manager for the Pasco County School System in Florida, you need at least three years of related experience. It waives this experience requirement if you have an associate degree that includes 12 hours of study in early childhood or elementary education.
Depending on the state where you work, you may need to earn Child Development Associate, or CDA, certification that the Council for Professional Recognition offers. To earn this certification, you need a high school diploma and some experience in the field. You’ll take a course, during which you must distribute and collect family questionnaires, prepare a professional portfolio and write a professional philosophy statement and six reflective statements of competence. You must also pass a certification exam. A representative from the Council for Professional Recognition will also observe you working with children.
Licensure and Other Requirements
Along with certification, you may also need to be licensed before you can work at a day care, let alone as a day care site manager. In Florida, for example, you have to be licensed as a child care director and meet all state requirements for child care workers. You may also need to pass a background check and be current on your immunizations.
You not only need to love children but you’ll need considerable patience. Children, no matter their ages, can tax even highly trained personnel. You should have strong communication skills, know how to supervise and train your staff and work well with others and on your own. You should also know how to work with parents and respond to their questions and concerns. Expect them to have opinions about everything, from how you do your job to when and how often you take your children outside or give them snacks. Diplomacy more than anything will help you keep your cool regardless of the situation.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Preschool and Childcare Center Directors
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: What Preschool and Childcare Center Directors Do
- Association of College Unions International: Child Care Manager
- Pasco County Schools: Child Care Site Manager
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: How to Become a Preschool or Childcare Center Director
- Council for Professional Recognition: Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential
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